Posted on | July 19, 2012 | 16 Comments
Nice Deb invokes the magic word to describe the harassment of The Lonely Conservative, and let’s notice something in the list of methods:
They’ve told me to slit my own throat. They’ve called me every foul name you can think of. They’ve insulted my husband, accused me of molesting my children and threatened to report me to my local school board. They impersonated my husband and contacted a local divorce attorney. They tried to have pornographic sex toys catalogues sent to my home. They have sent emails on my behalf to my elected representatives advocating for policies I disagree with completely. . . .They’ve called my home using Caller ID spoofing software or websites. They’ve let me know they know where I live.
Caller ID spoofing? They know where you live? Gee, that sounds kinda familiar, doesn’t it?
“One of the things they’ve done to people who have worked with me in the past, including an L.A. prosecutor, is to ‘SWAT.’ That means that they’re spoofing phones, pretending to be somebody else’s phone, calling 911, and saying ‘I killed somebody’ and then the person’s home is met with the guns drawn, the SWAT and the helicopters, in a horrifying act. It’s happened twice: once in New Jersey, once in Los Angeles . . .”
— Andrew Breitbart, Feb. 29, 2012
Targeting someone for harassment using deceptive means to conceal participants’ online identities? Perhaps “to engage them with a synthetic presence”? Hey, that sounds kinda familiar, too!
In 2010, Rauhauser was involved in a scandal known as “TwitterGate.” Using a Twitter account called @WingNutWatch, Rauhauser was accused of having “organized a group of E-Thugs meant to harass, threaten, provoke, disparage, intimidate, verbally assault, berate & employ hate-speech against those not in agreement with his brand of politics,” to cite blogger Patrick Read’s September 2010 description. . . .
On Aug. 31, 2010, the same day he declared his intent to go after “right wing cells,” Rauhauser created a sock-puppet account he called “WingNutWatch,” which then acted as a sort of Twitter ringleader for the effort he described. It took less than a month, however, for Greg Howard, Patrick Read and @ZapEm to document the malicious actions of Rauhauser and his “beandogs,” resulting in the “WingNutWatch” account being shut down by Twitter.
Not only has Neal Rauhauser personally engaged in this kind harassment — go read Patterico’s 3,000-word account of how Neal used his “Gaped Crusader” persona for that purpose — Rauhauser has advocated such harassment and instructed others in these methods. Go read what Rauhauser wrote about “persona management” (how to protect a secret online identity), and then read Rauhauser’s account of how he joined forces with a “very big dog from Anonymous” in a plan to attack Brett Kimberlin’s enemies. Now, go read Rauhauser’s strategy to attack conservatives online in two posts (using his alias “Stranded Wind”) at the site Open Left:
- Aug. 29, 2010: Organized Intimidation? Ambush Time.
- Aug. 31, 2010: Social Media’s Neighborhood Watch
Those two posts laid out the basic game plan of “TwitterGate,” an orchestrated campaign of harassment that erupted in September 2010, mere weeks after Rauhauser was a featured speaker at the DailyKos “Netroots Nation” conference.
The point is that Rauhauser is not just some random guy on the Internet, but has been a ringleader in fomenting the kind of viciousness that has been directed at The Lonely Conservative and others. When the people running the astroturf boycott against Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers feared their group had been infiltrated, they got Neal Rauhauser to “dox” the suspected spy:
Rauhauser . . . mused about exposing the man to harassment by sending his personal information to online groups.
“I have been sorely tempted to point him out to various actors — a guy like this, he could really produce some high quality entertainment for 4chan, Something Awful, Encyclopedia Dramatica, etc.,” Rauhauser wrote in his e-mail reply to [“Stop Rush” leader Matt Edelstein].
This is who Neal Rauhauser is. This is what Neal Rauhauser does.
He targets people for harassment and incites others to join his attacks on his targeted enemies, which he calls “high quality entertainment.” Having advocated such attacks, and having boasted of his skill at concealment and deception, Rauhauser cannot complain that he is wrongly suspected of complicity when the sadistic methods he has previously employed and endorsed are used to harass an innocent woman like The Lonely Conservative.
Remember that, when describing his plan to harass conservatives online in August 2010, Neal Rauhauser explained that his strategy was intended to provoke them into doing something that would provide the basis of civil or criminal prosecution:
We’re dealing with people who have likely had no interaction with the court system beyond a traffic ticket; the potential for a pro se litigant to force them into expensive, long distance, lengthy, discovery laden litigation doesn’t seem to cross their minds.
So there is profound irony in observing that Rauhauser is one of three defendants (along with Brett Kimberlin and Ron Brynaert) named in a Virginia lawsuit Aaron Walker filed in January:
Something tells me that twelve ordinary Virginians are not going to be very tolerant of this convicted domestic terrorist’s antics.
UPDATE: Linked by William Hoge — thanks! — and welcome, Instapundit readers! Zilla Stevenson has an honor roll of bloggers who have rallied to support and defend The Lonely Conservative.
BTW, Aaron Walker e-mails to say that the way I quoted him, it accidently implies that Rauhauser is the “convicted domestic terrorist” whose “antics” will be heard by a Virginia jury.
Of course, that description by Walker actually references Brett Kimberlin. However, the two appear to have become quite nearly inseparable, and every time Kimberlin shows up in court, Neal is part of the Brett’s entourage.
UPDATE II: Ace of Spades wrote this on May 22:
It is very easy to decide “this isn’t any of my trouble” and permit vicious behavior.
Easy. Perhaps understandable.
But hardly ethical. And certainly not heroic.
Who wants to get involved? Easier, and surely safer, just to duck one’s head and hide, and hope the danger visits someone else.
Perhaps the alligator will prefer to eat someone else first. Perhaps his belly will be full.
And why should you stick your neck out?
Here we are nearly two months later, watching as the alligators chomp on The Lonely Conservative’s leg, and it infuriates me. Because I know damned well this kind of harassment could be prevented, if law enforcement and political leaders were really determined to stop it.